University Communications > Facts & Stats > Environment

DePaul and the Environment

DePaul views sustainability as an essential part of the university’s Catholic, Vincentian and urban mission.

  • In the summer of 2018 DePaul installed PV solar panels to the roof of the McGowan South and 990 West Fullerton buildings. The first round of PV systems, which convert sunlight—photons—directly into electricity—voltage—consist of 300 panels. They will generate nearly 100,000 watts of energy, offsetting a percentage of the buildings' electrical supply that is currently purchased through third-party energy providers. The panels are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 83 tons each year—the equivalent of planting more than 3,000 trees a year. In the summer of 2019 PV solar will be installed at the roof of Clifton Fullerton residences halls. 
  • The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition recognized DePaul for its green building initiatives, conservation efforts, use of alternative energy and environmental academic programs.
  • DePaul received bronze level recognition from the Illinois Campus Sustainability Compact in May 2012 for its university sustainability efforts.
  • DePaul is a major user of the CTA’s U-Pass program. Each undergraduate is provided with a bus/rail pass as part of the tuition and fee package. This pass
    allows unlimited use of CTA buses and trains.  Over the past several years, DePaul students utilized U-Pass for an average of 1.5 million transit rides per academic year—a significant level of use that keeps many cars off the street.
  • Biking to and around campus has become a more friendly activity with an increase in bike parking spaces to over 1,000.
  • Public Safety uses flex fuel vehicles as part of its overall fleet.
  • Electric car charging stations have been installed at the Clifton parking deck, where electric vehicles can recharge for up to three hours with no charge.
  • Major operating plant equipment is continuously being replaced with high-efficiency rated equipment. This applies to the heating/cooling plants, ventilation equipment and other major infrastructure.
  • All primary lighting systems have been retrofitted to high-efficiency ballasts and energy-saving fluorescent lamps. Wherever possible, incandescent and flood lamps have been replaced by CFLs.
  • Facility Operations is currently working on retrofitting many light fixtures with LED lamps, along with installing motion activated light switching at classrooms, offices and other locations across campus. 
  • DePaul has installed solar lighting at two locations
    on Lincoln Park Campus, along with solar charging stations at both campuses that can be used to charge laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices. Solar arrays and collectors are powering a significant number of exterior security light fixtures. DePaul is committed to additional solar installations in the future.
  • DePaul is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Challenge and has completed in excess of $20 million in energy related projects in the new millennium, focusing mainly on lighting and HVAC system retrofits.
  • Building temperatures have been set higher in the summer and lower in cold months. During the holiday break, most buildings are kept at 55° (for freeze protection). This results in significant energy savings.
  • DePaul is purchasing 26% of its electrical energy requirement from renewable resources.
  • DePaul has completed numerous major mechanical equipment upgrades that are resulting in less energy use and a reduction in the institution's carbon footprint.
  • DePaul currently has four new buildings in its inventory that have received LEED designation: LEED Gold for McGowan South, the Theatre School and Arts and Letters Hall; and LEED Silver for the Art Museum. The new School of Music has been designed for LEED Silver. 
  • Several Loop and Lincoln Park buildings are completing retro-commissioning audits and project activity that will lead to increased efficiency in building operation and will save energy.  All future interior renovation projects will include specifications geared toward improving energy and operational efficiencies.
  • Green roofs are in place at McGowan South, the Theatre School, Arts & Letters Hall and the Art Museum.
  • DePaul uses organic compounds in the treatment of landscape areas across campus, and also uses landscape maintenance equipment that is powered by cleaner burning propane gas.
  • Indoor cleaning product specifications have been revised to reduce the use of toxic substances.
  • DePaul has modified its paint and carpet specifications using low VOC products on an on-going basis.
  • DePaul has been actively involved in recycling for an excess of 30 years. Currently, containers are available around the campuses for the community to "clean sort" recyclables. In addition, vendor "in-plant" sorting extracts certain recyclable products (i.e. plastics, aluminum and glass) out of the general waste stream. As a result of both efforts, DePaul recycles over 40% of its waste stream. In addition, the Lincoln Park food service operation is working with a vendor to compost food waste. Approximately 60 tons of material go to composting annually.
  • DePaul purchases recycled paper products and paper products that have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Rainforest Alliance. Recycled products are also utilized during construction and remodeling projects in the form of recycled plastics for toilet partitions and other specialty finish elements.
  • Facility Operations continues to partner with Environmental Sciences to help promote recycling efforts by the students in the residence halls. To better encourage faculty and staff, Facility Operations has placed a significant number of additional recycling bins and containers in university buildings.
  • Over 90 water bottle refill stations have been installed across the two campuses, with an average of 2 million refills occurring annually. This keeps a significant amount of plastic bottle product from the waste stream, as well as saving the community money associated with the purchase of bottled water. 
  • DePaul has established numerous battery and cell phone recycling collection points on campus to assist the university community in the proper disposal/recycling of these products.
  • Fresh water consumption has been reduced with the installation of low-flow shower heads at all residence halls, reducing landscape watering requirements, and continuing the installation of motion activated sink faucets and dual flush toilets.
  • Campus dining is involved in many sustainable practices, to include using all cage free egg product, purchasing sustainable seafood, purchasing product from local sources, and utilizing recyclable dish and small wares…and more.
  • These are just representative examples of what DePaul is doing overall in support of sustainability and environmental initiatives. Additional details can be provided by the Facility Operations department.